small lives
you just don’t expect

my old cat’s
going to prison
but this time
i’m not sure
she’s coming back

i think that animal
is the last shared thing
i have
with my mother

in her final illness
she used to laugh
when that cat
snuggled in my arm
settled and purred

she’d creep to the top
i’d hardly notice
until the wet
crept through my shirt

you just don’t expect
cold dribble
in your armpit





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